Orlando Marzo of Lume Restaurant, Melbourne has won the title of Australia’s 2018 Bartender of the Year at the Diageo World Class Australian final.
Marzo beat a record number of 500 entrants and was awarded the top prize after completing two days of intense workshops and challenges, competing against 19 of Australia’s best bartenders.
Held at Fred’s Bar in the Sydney suburb of Paddington on Tuesday night (24 April), this year’s World Class final included four live cocktail challenges hosted by various experts, hand-selected by Diageo for their contribution to the industry.
The final challenge categories included ‘The 10 Year Challenge’, hosted by Michael Madrusan of Milk & Honey fame and founder of The Everleigh; ‘Think Global, Go Local Challenge’, hosted by Danielle Alvarez, executive chef of Fred’s; ‘The Today Show Challenge’, hosted by television and radio presenter Fenella Kernebone, and ‘The Speed Round’, hosted by Kaitlyn Stewart, World Class Global Bartender of the Year 2017.
“I’ve met so many great people and made so many great connections during the competition,” said Marzo during his winning speech. “I’m incredibly proud to call Australia home and I cannot wait to represent you all.”
As Diageo’s Australian 2018 Bartender of the Year, Marzo joins a prestigious list of previous winners that includes last year’s victor Andrea Gualdi, Charlie Ainsbury (2014 and 2016), Jack Sotti (2015) and Luke Ashton (2013).
Marzo will now embark on a once-in-a-lifetime, all expenses paid trip to Berlin to represent Australia on the world stage at the Global Finals in October. He will also take a cocktail tour of Europe, visiting world famous bars and iconic Diageo distilleries, from the home of Johnnie Walker in Scotland to ‘Chez CÎROC’ in France, as well as experiencing the best bucket list drinking occasions the continent has to offer.
“World Class showcases the outstanding bartending talent we have here in Australia,” said Adam Ballesty, Diageo Australia Marketing and Innovation Director.
“Now in its 10th year the competition gets bigger and bigger every year. It’s been another highly competitive year with exceptional talent who have showed that it’s not just about flavour, but an impeccable understanding of spirits and commitment to the craft of bartending.
“Huge congratulations to Orlando. We’re really looking forwarding to seeing how he performs at the Global Finals.”